Open Web Analytics (OWA): Install & Launch on Your Server

Updated by Alex Fornuto Contributed by Douglas Colby

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Open Web Analytics (OWA) is an open-source alternative to commercial web analytics software. Use it to track and analyze traffic on your websites and applications. OWA analytics can easily be added to pages with simple Javascript, PHP, or REST based APIs. OWA also comes with built-in support for tracking websites made with popular content management frameworks such as WordPress and MediaWiki.

Before you Begin

  1. This guide assumes that you have your Linode already set up and running, that you have followed:

    The steps required in this guide require root privileges. Be sure to run the steps below as root or with the sudo prefix. For more information on privileges see our Users and Groups guide.

    Your server must be configured with a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) and not just an IP address. If needed, you can use the address provided in the Remote Access Tab next to your public IP address.

  2. Make sure your system is up-to-date:

    • CentOS

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      yum update
      
    • Debian & Ubuntu

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      apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
      
  3. Install the supporting software packages:

    • CentOS

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      yum install httpd php php-mysql mysql-server mariadb-server
      

      This command is designed to work with CentOS 6, which uses MySQL as the default database and CentOS 7 which uses MariaDB. You will get a notice when installing that the other package is not available.

    • Debian & Ubuntu

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      apt-get install apache2 php5 php5-mysql mysql-server
      
  4. CentOS users will need to enable and activate the httpd and mariadb services:

    • CentOS 7

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      2
      3
      4
      systemctl enable mariadb
      systemctl start mariadb
      systemctl enable httpd
      systemctl start httpd
      
    • CentOS 6

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      2
      3
      4
      chkconfig mysqld on
      service mysqld start
      chkconfig httpd on
      service httpd start
      

    Debian and Ubuntu users will need to restart the Apache2 daemon:

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    service apache2 restart
    

Set up MySQL

  1. Run mysql_secure_installation to secure your database:

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    mysql_secure_installation
    

    You should answer yes to most of the prompts. CentOS users, make sure to set a strong password for the root user since it is initially blank. This is the root user for mysql and is not related to the system’s root user.

  2. Enter the MySQL CLI:

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    mysql -u root -p
    

    You’ll need to enter the password you set in the step above, or when you installed mysql-server.

  3. Create a database named owadb:

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    CREATE DATABASE owadb;
    
  4. Create a user named owadbuser. Replace the example password, owadbpassword, with a strong password of your choice. This information will be needed later to configure OWA.

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    GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON owadb.* TO owadbuser@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'owadbpassword';
    
  5. Exit the MySQL CLI:

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    2
    FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
    quit
    

OWA

Install

  1. Navigate to your document root folder for your webserver, usually /var/www/html by default.:

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    cd /var/www/html
    
  2. Download the OWA package:

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    wget https://github.com/padams/Open-Web-Analytics/archive/1.5.7.tar.gz
    

    Version 1.5.7 is the current version and may be different by the time you read this. Please check The Open Web Analytics site for the latest information.

  3. Unpack the downloaded file:

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    tar xf 1.*.tar.gz
    
  4. Change ownership of the owa folder to the Apache daemon user:

    • CentOS

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      chown -R apache:apache Open*
      
    • Debian & Ubuntu

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      chown -R www-data:www-data Open*
      
  5. Recommended: Rename the OWA folder:

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    mv Open-Web-Analytics-1.5.7 owa
    
  6. Delete the tar file:

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    rm -rf 1.*.tar.gz
    

Configure

  1. Navigate to the OWA installation page in your webbrowser. Replace your.domain with your Linode’s IP address or FQDN:

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    http://your.domain/owa/
    
  2. After clicking on Let’s Get Started, you should see a configuration page for your OWA installation. OWA will automatically fill in the first field with the path to your OWA installation. You will need to fill in the other fields on the page with the information you set in the MySQL CLI:

    Open Web Analytics set up screen.

  3. Click Continue….

  4. Create a user account and define a domain to track. You will log in to see your OWA statistics through this user account.

    This process will display your password in plaintext once complete. Be careful if performing these steps in a public location.

Using OWA

You will need to create site profiles and add JavaScript or PHP code to your website pages to use OWA.

  1. Log in to your OWA installation. In your browser go to:

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    http://your.domain/owa/index.php
    
  2. The first time you login OWA will present you with a tracking tag (a code snippet) for the domain you defined when you created your user account. This code should be added to the html pages of the site you wish to track.

  3. Once the tracking tag has been added to your website pages, analysis data can be viewed under the “Reporting” section (click the button at the top of the page) which will take you to the Sites Roster page.

  4. To add more sites to track, click “Add New” at the top left of the page.

  5. On the resulting page you will see near the top a section named “Add a New Tracked Site Profile”. Enter the domain name of the site you want to track and click Save Profile. The other two fields are for your information only and are, therefore, optional.

    You must click “Save Profile” before trying to enter any of the settings below this button. Failure to do so will result in a blank white page and your new site not being added. Recovery simply requires a click of the back button in your browser.

  6. Click on “Reporting” in the top left corner to return to the Sites Roster page. In the list of tracked sites, find your new site and click “Get Tracking Code”.

  7. Copy the tracking code in the language of your choice (JavaScript or PHP) and paste the code into your websites’ pages. Now whenever someone loads a page with the tracking code, OWA will know about it and the data will show up in the reports.

  8. Click “View Reports” in the Sites Roster page and begin happy analyzing!

More Information

You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.

This guide is published under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license.